Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
The connection that two people must share to make this kind of sweetness cannot be overstated. For the understated powers of eye contact and sad/happy eyes and hearts are all at work between Tom Brosseau and Angela Correa, who make up the folk duo Les Shelleys. They don't necessarily have to be lovers with romantic inclinations to form these connections (and we could care less if they are or they aren't), but it does take something special to write and sing together with such remarkable simplicity. The music on Brosseau and Correa's self-titled debut album as Les Shelleys, is the kind of record that, if it were a person, would find the time every morning to run outside and pick enough flowers out of the garden to fill a vase that would sit idly on the kitchen table or counter as hot oatmeal, bacon and sunny-side-up eggs were patiently consumed for breakfast. If this album were a person, it would be the kind of person who would make his or her own paper and they would grind their own flour. They would sew their own clothes and they would never honk their car horns unless it was an absolutely necessary emergency. They would be huggers and great kissers and they would be - in everyone's solemn opinion - the best and most engaging listeners that anyone could ever have the privilege of meeting. The two singers and songwriters have called the state of California - not to mention, the feeling and air of California - home for a long time now and they make bountiful music filled with the energy of resplendent daylight and the good feeling of an expanded sigh getting exhaled out of the mouth and body. It all comes out feeling like the "waltz with the strawberry blonde" that Correa sings about in the opening lines of the song, "The Band Played On," breezy and wonderfully antiquated as if it were the soundtrack to the Great Depression or the Roaring Twenties - or the parts of it that were the recesses from the suffering and sorrow. These were the dances and low-key parties - with rum and Coca-Colas - that happened back in the day when no one had anything else to call their own. There is a deep sentiment in all of the songs on "Les Shelleys" that feels as if it is fresh water, a warm coat and a new love all rolled into one and given to us all as welcoming gifts. The love that is felt on the album is unadorned and pure. The people are conflicted, but not conflicted in love. They are sure of love. Brosseau and Correa sing on the opening track of the record, "The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise," "And while the world is waiting for the sunrise/Then my heart is calling you/…Every little rosebud is covered with dew/And my heart is calling for you." There is nothing mistaken in the feelings expressed there and it's those feelings that carry the days and the nights in these songs: a chivalrous dance and one done exclusively by moonbeams and starlight.